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After the end of World War Two and into the 1950s policemen were common sights on the streets. This had been so for many years, with the exception of the war years, not only as described in the early 1900s, but also for many years before. However it was to change later in the century, which makes it worth describing here.
While I was still young in the late 1940s and early 1950s, policemen walked alone on their beats rather than in pairs, and I understand that they still communicated with one another by blowing their special police whistles.
There were always so many policemen walking their individual beats in built-up areas that any one of them would always be in earshot of another's whistle. I never saw or heard a policeman blowing a whistle because I was never anywhere near a crime scene.
Policemen always seemed to be around when my mother took me out and we needed directions. However, I don't remember particular policemen staying with particular communities, although I lived in a town. It must have been different in rural areas.
On night patrol, a policeman needed to relieve himself, and so went off beat down an alleyway, and while so engaged noticed a man breaking into a local property. He then waited for the man to come out, and promptly nicked (arrested) him. The policeman was of course praised for this arrest. However the sergeant wanted to know why the arrest took place off of the policeman's beat. The reply was that having seen the man acting suspiciously the policeman had followed him to the scene of the crime.
as told by the policeman to Iris and Mark Bailey